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Saturday, May 16, 2009


I had a night to myself last night, and spent nearly the whole time working on the garden (and my entire backside is protesting this morning). Early spring has gone by, and everything is well into late spring form.

My potted perennials suffered a bit this winter. Neither of my Heuchera came back, so I finally brought those pots back into the garage. I'm officially going to give up on Amber Waves Heuchera. This is the second one I've had that didn't survive its first winter. Still, I love heucheras in general, and will pick up another one when I go in for my annual spring plant binge in a couple of weeks.

I did pick up two plants yesterday at Lowe's (original purpose for trip = mulch), the first of which is the above foam flower (Tiarella). The foliage is really cool, and I like that this will actually bloom (unlike the foliage Heucheras). So I was pretty much forced to bring it home, despite promising myself I'd only buy mulch. (Like I believed I could keep that promise.)

As I mentioned, I went to Lowe's last night to buy mulch. The side garden needs a touch up, and due to the Great Lilac Hacking of last fall, the back garden bed is getting more sun. I've already seen dandelions back there, a sight I've never seen before. So I decided I'd mulch the back bed and attempt to keep back the weeds. As you can see from above, the lilac has come back a bit, but it's clearly not going to be anywhere close to full form for a good long while, so this bed may turn out to be usable for a while.

The other plant I bought last night was a package of variegated Lamium. I've seen them around the neighborhood under trees, and if they'll survive this bed, they'll make a nice ground cover that will keep out the weeds without the need for mulch, and that will survive once the lilac grows in more.

I'm also considering getting some compost to spread on the bed in the fall. There are lily of the valley back there that are pretty sparse, and I'm wondering if it's just due to lack of nutrition. It's a nice crumbly soil back there, but I'm not sure it's got any substance to it.

So, two bags of mulch later, the bed looks much neater. We'll see how it progresses through the summer.

The side garden is in that awkward state where the bulb foliage is still out, and dominating a great deal of space, but the flowers are mostly gone by (half of the tulips are still pretty). This the worst time of year in this garden. It's pretty much impossible to work around the bulbs. I'll be able to touch up the mulch in the half of the bed closest to the garage, but the side closest to the street is pretty much a lost cause until the daffodils die down.

Now, I love spring bulbs, and fully intend to have them when I have my own garden, but I can definitely tell you that they will not be planted in any beds where I have summer plants.

What I was able to do is the biennial Rugosa rose hack. There were a number of shoots that had grown taller then the brick foundation, and I got rid of all of them. I even took out the bits that were supporting the clematis. The clematis has plenty of other support, and I wanted as much of the big stuff out of there as I could get. Now, once the daffodils die down, I'll need to get in there and see if there are any stumps I can pull out. It's pretty much a never ending battle with this thing. I'll never, ever buy one for myself.

At this point, I do still need to touch up as much of the mulch as I can in the side garden, but it's supposed to rain, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to do that. Once that's done, I'm out of work until my spring buying spree. That'll be a little late this year, due to some traveling I have to do at the of the month, so now I'm counting the days until June.

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